Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen ducks a high pitch from Mets starting pitcher R.A. Dickey in the second inning Thursday at Citi Field in New York.
Kathy Willens/Associated Press
Travis Snider climbs the fence to rob the Mets' Mike Baxter of a home run Thursday at Citi Field in New York.
By Bill Brink Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
NEW YORK -- The New York Mets are nothing if not fast learners.
Mike Baxter thought he got enough of Kevin Correia's pitch for a home run in the second inning. When he looked up between first and second base, he saw Travis Snider catching his long drive, half his body extended above the eight-foot fence in right field, the ball showing just above the top of his glove.
David Wright solved the problem: Hit the ball farther.
Wright's home run in the fifth carried over the wall in right-center field, well out of Snider's reach. The homer broke a tie, capped a four-run fifth and gave the Mets a 6-5 win Thursday against the Pirates in their final home game at Citi Field this season.
Game: Reds at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park.
TV, Radio: Root Sports, KDKA-FM (93.7).
Probables: RHP Homer Bailey (12-10, 3.92) vs. RHP A.J. Burnett (16-8, 3.53).
Key matchup: Bailey vs. Garrett Jones, who is 10 for 30 with a home run against Bailey in his career.
Hidden stat: Burnett has allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of his past six starts.
Snider's catch, one of the finest defensive plays this season, ranked alongside those from Rajai Davis and Mike Trout, who also robbed batters of home runs. Baxter hit the ball well enough that Correia hung his head in disgust before turning to watch.
"I didn't think he had a chance," Correia said. "He made an unbelievable catch, definitely the best catch I've seen this year on the mound."
Snider planted his left leg on the wall to climb it and held himself upright with his left arm. He barely snagged the ball, three or four feet above the top of the wall.
"It's as good a play as you'll ever want to see an outfielder make," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Great timing, feel, that's just great to watch."
The Pirates now need perfection to reach mediocrity. They must win all of their final six games to finish with a winning 82-80 record. A 5-1 finish will get them to .500, at 81-81, and 4-2 or worse ensures a 20th consecutive losing season.
They begin that six-game push tonight at home, where they will finish the season, against the Cincinnati Reds, the playoff-bound leaders of the National League Central. The Reds have won nine of the 15 meetings this season.
A.J. Burnett, who is 3-1 with a 2.36 ERA when facing the Reds this season, starts tonight. He is 8-4 with a 3.07 ERA in 15 home starts this season.
Andrew McCutchen left the game in the seventh after diving for a ball in center. He charged toward the infield and trapped Daniel Murphy's soft liner, then threw to second base for a forceout. He remained on one knee, and after Hurdle and trainer Todd Tomczyk checked on him, he left the game because of a bruised left knee.
"I hit the ground pretty hard with my knee," McCutchen said.
McCutchen hopes he can play this weekend.
"Just the impact of hitting the ground, it's like kneeing a brick wall, basically, is kind of what it felt like," he said. "I'm good to go."
Wright's home run ensured that Mets starter R.A. Dickey won his 20th game this season. He struck out 13, which tied his career high but was the first time he had recorded double-digit strikeouts since Aug. 9.
"We hit him pretty well," Correia said.
"If I come up with a halfway-decent start, we have a great chance of winning the game. Normally, I can pick a positive out of starts, but today there wasn't any."
Rod Barajas spotted Correia a lead early in the game. He doubled to score a run in the second and hit a solo home run, his 11th, in the fourth.
Andres Torres walked to lead off the fifth. With one out, Ruben Tejada and Murphy hit consecutive singles, with Murphy's single scoring Torres. Wright hit a 2-1 fastball into the bullpen in right-center to give the Mets a 6-3 lead.
Correia (11-11) allowed six runs and seven hits in 41/3 innings.
"I was just missing pitches that I've been used to being able to throw kind of where I want the last few starts, and they were hitting them," Correia said.
Alex Presley's 10th homer, a two-run shot in the ninth off Jon Rauch, brought the Pirates within a run.